Trader Joe’s is off to the new-store races this September, having opened a location in Halfmoon, N.Y. on Sept. 8, a store in Morrisville, N.C., on Sept. 10, and a new wine shop in Colorado Springs, Colo., a state where wine and spirits must be sold separately from groceries.
Formerly an Earth Fare, the 10,600-square-foot Morrisville store at 951 Morrisville Parkway is Trader Joe’s 11th location in North Carolina. Grocery competition in the area is strong and growing. It includes multiple Aldi and Food Lion stores as well as Walmart and Wegmans, the last of which opened in neighboring West Cary last year.
Wegmans also has been aggressive about its North Carolina expansion. While it doesn't open new stores with the nimbleness or frequency of smaller-format Trader Joe's and Aldi, it opened its first store in the state in Raleigh in 2019. That move was followed by the West Cary location in 2020 and stores in Chapel Hill and Wake Forest earlier this year. But the Rochester, N.Y.-based grocer’s four North Carolina stores are far fewer than Aldi’s more than 70 stores in the state.
Among Trader Joe’s North Carolina locations is a single store in nearby Raleigh, where competitor Aldi has a dozen stores in and around the burgeoning North Carolina city.
In March, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) in Chicago identified the top 10 commercial real estate markets for 2021, and Raleigh was among them.
“The top commercial real estate markets that are expected to outperform the rest of the nation are generally affordable and able to draw new residents with a greater flexibility to work from home,” said NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun in a press release. “These growing markets also offer much lower office and retail rents and are, therefore, able to attract new and expanding businesses.”
Earlier this month, Trader Joe’s confirmed additional new stores “coming soon,” including locations in the trendy Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y. (200 Kent Ave.); Bridgemarket on New York’s Upper East Side (405 E. 59th Street); and Rocklin, Calif. (5116 Commons Dr.) near Sacramento—another red-hot real estate market, where home prices recently surged 18% to 25%.
Trader Joe's recently revealed the five most coveted products, from cauliflower to sassy seasoning, in its 11th Annual Customer Choice Awards. It counted down the fab five in its latest podcast, "Episode 21," recorded at the Trader Joe’s mother ship in Monrovia, Calif.
“We send out a request to our customers via email and on our Instagram page to submit to us their favorite Trader Joe’s products in a bunch of categories,” said Tara Miller, director of words and phrases and clauses, in the podcast. Trader Joe’s also asks customers to nominate one overall winner as their favorite product in the store.
“Every year since we have been doing the Customer Choice Awards, the overall favorite at Trader Joe's has been Mandarin Orange Chicken," Miller said. "Do we think that it can retain its leadership position?”
And the winners are …